Australia Post reviews pricing following accusations it’s ‘stitching up’ bush businesses

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A letter obtained by the ABC shows Australia Post is reviewing its pricing structure for regional customers, after a Darling Downs business owner fought a 20 to 40 per cent increase in parcel prices.

The owner of the business, which manufactures roll bars, raised concerns after his new contract, issued in June, included large increases in the cost of posting parcels to his country customers.

A revised contract has now been offered to QuadBar managing director David Robertson, but he said it still cost more to send parcels to regional customers.

“Even though they tweaked my rates, it’s the situation where people in rural areas will be paying a penalty for owning businesses in rural areas,” Mr Robertson said.

“I’m more concerned about the whole concept that rural people are paying double what people in the city are paying for the same thing, particularly when the city areas are Brisbane out to Ipswich — even Toowoomba is considered remote.”

He said the vast majority of his customers were based in regional areas, which many competitors would not service.

“I’m pretty much restricted to Australia Post,” he said.

“We don’t pay double for our [other services like] phone calls.

“We are prepared to pay a little more for our parcels — but not double.”

No regional price rise

A letter from Australia Post to member for Maranoa and Deputy Nationals Leader David Littleproud confirmed it would review its overall pricing structure.

“Over many years complexity has built up across customers that creates anomalies against our strategic intent of supporting all Australians,” executive general manager transformation and enablement John Cox wrote.

“My commitment to you [Mr Littleproud] is to keep you informed of this review as we design clearer, simpler offers for all of our commercial customers.”

But in its official statement to the ABC, an Australia Post spokesperson said it was not possible to comment on a contract customer’s specific situation and maintained it provided competitive pricing.

“We understand the unique challenges and pressures faced by regional and rural communities,” the spokesperson said.

“There are no widespread pricing changes for regional customers.”

Mr Littleproud accused Australia Post of being “tricky” with its use of “corporate jargon”.

“They have now subsequently had to admit that not only were they doing this individual over, but they’ve been doing regional Australia over,” he said

“Australia Post [have now] admitted that they had increased the costs around 32 per cent for regional Australians and around 13.5 per cent for metropolitan Australians.

“They’ve been tricky, they’ve been mean and they’ve been stitching up regional Australia for far too long.”

Mr Littleproud said in the interests of transparency, Australia Post should “open up the books” and show how its pricing model was achieved.

“I acknowledge there’ll be increases in the cost of them delivering the service to Australians, but because it is a universal service it should be broadly shared across all Australians,” he said.

“Yes, they have a right to make a profit, but they [also] have a social responsibility.

“Taking money out of the pockets of small businesses takes away jobs and job opportunities for the future for regional Australians, and that’s why this had to be sorted and sorted quickly.”

By Elly Bradfield (Original ABC Article)

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